June 30, 2016 – The Philippine’s new leader is taking on powerful vested interests and challenging longstanding alliances – all the while using language that is not associated with a statesman but more of a street fighter.
Rodrigo Duterte is a firebrand who has a lot of comparisons to Trump due to his coarse defiance of ruling the class traditionally, was sworn in as U.S. ally president on Thursday, taking over the position from President Benigno Aquino.
However, the 71 years old has vowed to reassess the close ties of his country with Washington.
He stated in a local television on May 31 that he wants everybody to know that they will be charting a course of their own. He added that the Philippines won’t be dependent on America and it’ll be a line that is never intended to please anyone but the interests of Filipinos.
Duterte, Southern Philippines’ Davao City’s former mayor, promised to say sorry to Americans if they invite him to collaborate with their U.S. aircraft carrier patrols in the South China Sea’s contested waters, where the U.S. as well as its allies have been fighting against China.
Meanwhile, Rodrigo Duterte has signaled his readiness in expanding economic ties with Beijing, by citing an offer to build a significant railway project in his country.
Perfecto Yasay Jr., incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary of the Philippines said on Monday that the official media of China has given special attention to the plan of Duterte for a more balanced diplomacy. According to Chinese state media and analysts, this change could result in simplifying maritime tensions.
The state-run Global Times of China responded that economic cooperation can actually help promote political dialogues as well as ease tensions between territorial deadlocks. The article also added that Beijing can offer more assistance and investment to Manila.
Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said they are willing to cooperate with the new government of the Philippines to this end.